Klay Thompson’s return is here.
The five-time All-Star will debut this season on Sunday, when the Warriors will face the Cavaliers.
Five-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA Champion Klay Thompson will be able to play against Cleveland tomorrow night. pic.twitter.com/7c9NVBcTnK
– Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) January 8, 2022
MORE: How good can Thompson be after Achilles’ injury?
The Warriors already have the second best NBA record this season without Thompson scoring a single minute. According to the consensus, should they be favorites with him to win everything?
The Sporting News team members appreciate it.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Let’s not forget that Thompson may have two of the worst injuries a basketball player can suffer when his ACL ruptures and Achilles. Since he hasn’t played for two seasons, it will take him a while to work his way back to Klay Thompson, whom we all know and love.
Assuming, of course, that Thompson can still return to that level.
In the offensive, I think she’ll be fine. The defense is more of a question mark, although it certainly helps that the Warriors can surround him with other elite defenders. (There’s a reason Draymond Green is the leading Defensive Player of the Year and Andrew Wiggins has done well as their perimeter stopper.)
The Warriors have established themselves as a legitimate title candidate this season without Thompson, and he should only improve them. However, there’s a little too much uncertainty for me to say they should be and consensual favorite without seeing what he looks like. I have too much respect for the Suns, Nets and Bucks (as well as several other teams) to go there.
MORE: Four pressing questions before Thompson’s return
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I’ll join Scott here – Thompson’s return doesn’t make the Warriors a popular titlebut it obviously helps their chances.
It has nothing to do with Thompson individually and it has to do with my respect for the two teams that made it to the finals last year and seem to have just improved – Suns and Bucks. For me, there are still two teams that need to be beat. The Nets are there as well, but I would group them with the Warriors to create an elite level of four teams that is above the rest of the league.
The Warriors are definitely contenders for the title, and Thompson’s return only strengthens their case so that they can make it to the NBA Finals again. I have high hopes for the five-time All-Star when he takes the floor again, even after spending two seasons on the sidelines.
The shot goes nowhere and Stephen Curry pushes a lot in the offensive finish. With Green still playing as the Defensive Player of the Year and Wiggins taking on bigger roles, I don’t think Golden State will want Thompson on the defensive as much as in the days of their main dynasty.
I can’t wait for Klay to get back there, I have no doubt he’ll be amazing. But his return does not elevate the Warriors to their own level, they are still in the same package as the Bucks, Suns and Nets.
MORE: Is Curry the best NBA player?
Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): Even though I want to be the other side and go against Scott and Kyle, I can’t say Thompson’s return makes Golden State a favorite before I see him in action.
Before I recognize other favorites, I’ll start by focusing only on the Warriors.
In Thompson’s absence, Golden State has an extremely hot start and receives great contributions from such as Otto Porter, Jordan Poole and Wiggins, who have done some of the things Thompson does. Now I make it clear that I don’t think these players are better than the five-time All-Star at the top of Klay, but I’m afraid an exaggerated effort to reintegrate Thompson could adversely affect the players who have joined.
Would it be permanent? Probably not, but how easy it should be to get Thompson back on the rotation doesn’t come without a period of adjustment. This in itself balances the playing field, although the Golden State may seem to have an abundance of wealth.
Now, to account for other contenders throughout the league, I agree that it would be unfair to use Thompson’s arrival as something that will elevate the Warriors above the Suns or Nets. Oh, and the Bulls are coming too.